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‘Arts ARE Education’ Campaign Kicks Off With Virtual Town Hall

Victoria Wasylak • News • January 18, 2021

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Arts ARE Education, a new national campaign designed to support the ongoing value of arts education for PreK-12 students in the post-pandemic era, is rolling out its message and strategies in a virtual town hall on January 19, via Zoom, 2:30 PT and 5:30 ET.

The town hall, the first of five scheduled virtual events on behalf of the campaign, will include presentations by leaders of the National Association for Music Merchants (NAMM) and representatives from the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, the Arts ARE Education sponsoring organization. The event is being presented in coordination with NAMM’s Believe in Music Week, as part of their “Coalition on Coalitions” session. Subsequent campaign meetings will be entitled “Arts ARE Education Tuesday Town Halls” and feature education leaders and decision-makers in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts in dialogue with administrators, teachers, parents, students, and other school stakeholders on successive Tuesdays, January 26 through March 2.

Arts ARE Education is seeking to mobilize support throughout the country by emphasizing the importance of arts education as a central component to the well-rounded education of all students. Advocates are concerned that budget shortfalls and an emphasis on remedial curriculum addressing learning loss will impact access to arts education, particularly for students deemed at risk. The campaign will urge grassroots advocates to reach out to district school leaders, legislators, and community members to support funding that will maintain and grow music and arts programs in the 2021-22 school year and beyond. In support of its core message, the campaign is asking school boards to pass the Arts ARE Education Resolution and for individuals to sign the Arts ARE Education Pledge. Arts ARE Education was inspired by the Arts Education is Essential document that was issued by NCCAS in April and endorsed by 111 national organizations. The statement articulated how arts experiences support the social and emotional well-being of students and nurtures the creation of a welcoming school environment where all students can express themselves in a safe and positive way.

“The arts will help schools and students rebuild and strengthen the sense of community lost during the pandemic,” said campaign spokesperson James Palmarini. “When we say the arts are education, we mean they are as fundamental to student success as any other subject area — right now maybe more so as students re-enter the in-school environment.”

Addressing the campaign’s call for supporting arts education in schools, award-winning Broadway director Kenny Leon said: “The arts are life–we all need them, children more than anyone. Every student ought to have the opportunity to act, paint, dance, sing–whatever artistic impulse that helps them discover who they are and who they want to become. I call on our schools to continue to make arts education a central part of their students’ education.”

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